Was I the Only One With the Urge to Barf When the Farm’s Commercials Aired

I gotta admit after Katrina the early State Farm response was that of a well oiled machine. Only later did claims management cook engineering reports to fleece their policyholders. My advice to those with insured losses in Gustav would be to hire a public adjuster to start and begin scouting for competent legal help just in case. Insurance industry lawyer David Rossmiller explains why:

One, this “inherent conflict of interest” certainly exists, just as it exists whenever you file a first-party property claim. This is not very startling, because it has been said — wait while my computer comes up with the final tally — 3,456 kajillion times before in insurance literature. For many of you the following explanation will be something you know already, but many don’t know it, so I am going to set it down in writing here. As you may or may not know, when someone makes a liability claim against you, say you ran into them with your car, your insurer owes you a fiduciary duty, assuming a duty to defend arises out of the allegations and the language of the insurance policy. A fiduciary duty is the highest duty imposed by law, and requires one to treat another’s interests like one’s own, resolving all conflicts of interest in favor or the insured. These type of liability claims are called third-party claims. In contrast, claims you file with your own insurer for damage to your house or other property are called first-party claims. An adversary relationship is assumed to exist between the insurer and insured from the time the claim is filed, and generally speaking, no fiduciary duty arises on the part of the insurer. Emphasis Sop

A policyholder equipped with the facts is less likely to get fleeced. Remember that no matter how big the smile and reassuring the words there is someone working hard behind the scenes (such as State Farm’s Lecky King after Katrina) to minimize, low ball or otherwise reduce the amounts to which you are contractually entitled.


DNC Platform Calls for National Catastrophe Fund

The house bill is known as HR 3355, the Homeowner’s Defense Act of 2007 and is even supported by insurers such as State Farm. John McCain, George Bush and the GOP are against helping coastal homeowners deal with a dysfunctional insurance market just as they were against protecting West Coast electricity consumers from price gouging by ENRON back in 2001.

Arthur Postal has the story for the National Underwriter:

The Democratic Party has approved a plank in its platform for the coming election that calls for creation of a national catastrophe fund. An advocate for such legislation said the move was a first for a major political party.

The platform was adopted by acclamation Monday, the first day of the Democratic political convention.

The decision was greeted with elation by officials of ProtectingAmerica.org, a strong advocate for such a program. Continue reading “DNC Platform Calls for National Catastrophe Fund”

Levees.Org Debunks Katrina Myths

Sandy Rosenthal and her grassroots organization Levees.org landed on our radar screen thanks to Editilla at the New Orleans News Ladder who is passionate on the subject. Last Thursday Levees.org held a screening of their new 10 minute video, The Katrina Myth; the Truth about a thoroughly unnatural disaster.

Word has spread because in just 4 short days it has passed 49,000 views. It is well worth watching.


Some Gustav Aftermath With a Local Perspective

We’ll start first in Hancock County. JR Welsh reports the facts for the Sun Herald, I’ll add some perspective.

Along the Bay of St. Louis, pounding surf further eroded the coastline along Beach Boulevard, and piers were taken out by the unruly waves. The surge was estimated at 6 to 8 feet.

There was also a high tide around 1:00PM which added to the total water. Growing up I saw “Gustav” many times. As Mr Welsh reports low lying areas were hit hard. The surprise to me was seeing DeRussy Motors flooded on WLOX.

In Pearlington, “the initial assessment is not going to be good,” said Hancock County Supervisor Rocky Pullman, whose district includes the isolated area. Some homes flooded, and “there may very well have been water-well contamination” in the area, which still has no public water system, he added.

Pearlington is a great spot for fish camps, it is very low on the east side of the Pearl River mouth. Katrina previously wiped it clean.

Officials feared that water and sewer infrastructure in the south county, already pummeled by Katrina, again suffered damage.

Beach road was largely torn up ongoing infrastructure repairs when Gustav hit. The south of CSX tracks west side of Waveland is largely done and most likely did not flood. My lot did not flood. Continue reading “Some Gustav Aftermath With a Local Perspective”

Over 47,000 without power on the Coast

Sop must be among those without power; so, I’m pulling this update together from a read-around and hoping to hear from him again soon – his last message came at 9:12 this morning reporting wind and light rain.  Natalie Chandler, a CL reporter on the Coast to cover Gustav fills us in on what’s happened since – Heavy rain, wind create problems in Miss.

Dozens of homes and roads are flooding today and more than 47,000 customers are without power as Hurricane Gustav continues working its way across the Gulf Coast.

About 100 homes are flooding in Pearlington, an area in Hancock County hard hit by Hurricane Katrina three years ago. There are no reports now of anyone inside the homes.

Bay St. Louis officials report downed trees, broken limbs and roof damage from Gustav’s winds, which reached up to 70 miles per hour in some places.

Madison County also has reported scattered power outages.

State officials say storm surge reached 6.5 feet in Pascagoula and 11 feet in Waveland. Water began receding an hour ago, but the area is still experiencing heavy rain and winds at times from Gustav’s outer bands. Jackson County officials say they had to make several high-water rescues.

There are 47,240 without power in the lower six counties of Pearl River, Stone, George, Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties.

Scattered power outages have been reported throughout the city of McComb, Summit, Magnolia and Osyka and the central and southern parts of Pike County.

Guess we’re in for the wind v water debate, part two.  Last check, the levees were holding in NOLA – overflowing but holding.  Lots of news about that but not as much on conditions where Gustav made landfall. Continue reading “Over 47,000 without power on the Coast”

The test of our disaster preparation – dealing with insurance after Gustav

The lessons of Katrina applied – build up, build strong, turn your back to the storm but never take your eye off your insurance provider.

Press releases were going out before Gustav rolled in and the first one I saw included an important reminder.

“There is no question that there is less wind coverage provided along the coastal areas,” said Paul Newsome, an analyst at Sandler O’Neill & Partners, in an interview on Bloomberg television.

No article thus far from MDI on the windpool but Allstate and State Farm both issued separate releases touting their preparation – no doubt thinking the job would be easier with fewer homeowners protected against damage from wind.

Allstate Insurance officials say they are ramping up operations throughout the Gulf Coast in anticipation of Hurricane Gustav’s landfall. Continue reading “The test of our disaster preparation – dealing with insurance after Gustav”